After reading about the new Action Cam Mini AZ1 from Sony, you weren’t alone in thinking their smallest camera was now their best. But as things typically go in the electronic world, the latest and greatest does last for long. Don’t get us wrong, the Action Cam Mini is still one of our favorites for its diminutive size and incredible ease of use. It’s just that thanks to Sony’s introductions at CES, the Consumer Electronics Show, the mini is no longer top dog in terms of hardware.
That distinction now belongs to the all-new FDR-X1000V. Running a bit larger than Sony’s previous full size action camera, the X1000V is the first Sony Action Cam to film in 4K resolution. Fortunately, the X1000V is more than just better resolution. Instead it brings much of the usability found in the Mini that we loved so much and more. Better sound. Better control. Basically, a better camera in all regards.
Don’t care about filming in 4K? You may still be interested in the replacement for the AS100V – the new AS200V. Yes, it’s a lot of numbers and letters, but it also means full HD capability, better image stabilization, and more control…
Coined loosely as Sony’s Rx or α7S technology in an action camera, the X1000V packs a lot of circuitry into a relatively small frame. Measuring in at 24.4mm x 51.7mm x 88.9mm, those numbers are 0.2mm x 5.2mm x 7.4mm larger than the new HDR-AS200V. So the 4K compatible camera is bigger, but not by much. Housed in a body very similar to the Sony Action cameras prior, the X1000V still features a splash proof housing, replaceable battery (NP-BX1, same as the AS200V), hidden HDMI out, charging port, and memory slot for Memory Stick Micro and Micro SD/SDHC/SDXC cards.
While the big story is the addition of 4K, a Micro SDXC UHS-1 Class 3 memory card is required along with the XAVC S codec to get the most out of the resolution. The camera is capable of using the MP4 codec, but its use limits the useable resolution. Even if you’re not planning on taking advantage of the full 4K, the camera includes a host of other new tech like a back-illuminated Exmor R CMOS sensor, a BIONZ X processor, and a Zeiss Tessar lens with an ultra-wide 170 degree field of view – wider than GoPro’s if you leave the Steady Shot behind.
Speaking of which, Sony has always stood behind their SteadyShot technology for their action cameras and now it’s even better. First introduced to action cams with the HDR-AS20, SteadyShot was improved with the AZ1 and AS100V, and has been improved yet again for the X100V and AS200V. Now designed to be more effective against high frequency vibrations, the camera is ideally suited for use on aerial photography drones.
The α7S tech comes into play with the camera’s full pixel readout technology found on their high end DSLRs. In layman’s terms, that means the camera processes pixels one by one resulting in crisp lines and true colors. Combined with a high bit rate (100/60Mbps (30p/24p) in 4K or 50Mbps in full HD) the X1000V should provide footage with better detail and the ability to run up to 120p for great slow motion in full HD. Want more frames per second? The camera will bump up to 240p in standard HD as well.
Finally, to make all the new tech even more useable Sony has added the option for manual control and settings. White balance, auto exposure shifting and more can be controlled through the menu, or the new Live View Remote RM-LVR2. Waterproof up to 3m, the new remote offers control over both the X1000V and AS200V to start/stop recording, watch movie playback minus the sound, and delete the duds. Both the remote and the PlayMemories Mobile app (android and iOS) allow for control of multiple cameras at once. Sony is also working on a new Action Cam App that will be available for download in Spring 2015 to bring additional editing features to mobile control.
Don’t fancy yourself a film maker? Sony is also introducing the new Highlight Movie Maker which does all the work for you. By utilizing an algorithm to analyze your footage, the Movie Maker automatically figures out the highlights of your filming and creates an automated edit. We have yet to see this technology in person, but according to Sony it seems to work quite well which is intriguing. Who wouldn’t want to just record your ride, then have a ready made movie by the end?
To go along with the improved picture, Sony has updated the sound quality of the sound with a stereo microphone which features auto Wind Noise Reduction.
While that covers most of the new features found on the X1000V, many other features carry over from the previous model including the ability to Live Stream, GPS Data overlay, burst shooting, Motion Shot LE, and more.
Sold either as the camera or the camera/remote bundle, the X1000V has an estimated retail of $499 or $599 respectively.
Not to be upstaged by its new big brother, the AS100V is reincarnated as the AS200V. Packed with many of the new technologies found in the X1000V like the full pixel readout, improved SteadyShot, wind noise reduction, manual settings, loop recording and more, the camera is a relative bargain. Able to film in full HD at 1080p HD at 50Mbps with 60p, (as well as 720p HD video at 120p and WVGA video at 240p) the AS200V will retail for just $299 or $399 with the new Live View Remote.
Instead of the tweaked form factor found on the X1000V, the body of the AS200v is nearly identical to the AS100V. That means the record button/lock is located on the back of the camera instead of the top, and if you want to mount the AS200V to a 1/4 20 mount you’ll have to use the included adapter.
Both cameras include a waterproof housing, but the X1000V will have an optional dive door available for $29.99 that increases the waterproofing to 60m. Additional new accessories include the new Board Mount ($29.99) for snow or surfboards which is much more compact, and the new Helmet Side Mount ($24.99) which offers an adjustable mount for the side of full face helmets.
Expect both the new Sony HD Action Cam HDR-AS200V and Sony 4K Action Cam FDR-X1000V and accessories to hit stores this March.